Calls for papers


International Journal of Procurement Management
International Journal of Procurement Management


Special Issue on: "Procurement Practices in Lean and Agile Supply Networks"

Guest Editor:
Prof. Sanjay Kumar, Management Development Institute, India

In today's competitive world where supply chains compete, 'lean and agile supply chain networks' are the two models that have emerged as alternate paradigms in the field of procurement.

Lean supply networks were popularised by Japanese companies such as Toyota and Honda. Formerly known as kieretsus, these supply networks are characterised by high trust and commitment to mutual co-prosperity. Suppliers, once chosen, are developed by the manufacturers by transferring technical and managerial knowledge about manufacturing processes, quality systems, etc. Suppliers are expected to perform, but can expect reasonable tenure of relationship. These systems came to be associated with JIT and lean anufacturing, and hence are called lean supply networks.

Agile networks were more popular in the competitive markets in the US and also in fast-changing industries in Europe, where either the product or process technology was changing very quickly. Here the suppliers were chosen based on either the cost of supply or for a special 'competency'. Thus the manufacturers made use of this 'cost' or 'competency' and changed suppliers when either of these advantages were lost. Thus supplier relationships in 'agile networks are characterised by short-term contracts with template-based ramp up of supply and a planned ramp down of the supply, once the period of the contract is over.

Besides the cultural flavour related to the origin of these paradigms, there are many environmental variables which favour one or the other paradigm for cost-effective and sustainable operations. Industry 'clock speed' is one such variable which favours one paradigm over the other. Network theory which looks at formation, transformation and eventual dissolution of networks has shed more light on the subject. The stage of evolution of the network and the longevity of the network also affects the nature of the supply network and the supplier relationships.

The procurement practices which characterise each of these supply networks are also fairly different. Some changes in procurement practices have been documented, such as the nature of contracts between suppliers and manufacturers. Long-term contracts with weekly supply schedules is a practice associated with lean supply networks. Both Toyota and Honda have these kinds of contracts with suppliers.

Similarly risk-sharing contracts between manufacturers and suppliers are associated with 'agile supply networks'. Companies such as Cisco and some mobile manufacturers have been known to have favoured such contracts.

This leads to several research questions such as the following: In today's environment of 'vehicle recalls', will the supplier bear a share of a recall liability? Will this liability be different in 'lean' and 'agile' supply networks? How is supplier performance managed in lean and agile supply networks?

Subject Coverage
Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Procurement practices in lean and agile networks
  • Risk sharing in supplier contracts
  • Supplier evaluation in lean and agile supply networks
  • Supplier selection in lean and agile networks
  • Liability sharing in lean and agile networks
  • Supplier development practices in lean and agile completeness in supplier contracts
  • Tolerance for quality errors in lean and agile supply networks
  • Supplier performance management in lean and agile networks
  • Procurement practices in new and mature networks
  • Knowledge transfer mechanisms in lean and agile networks
  • Information sharing in lean and agile supply networks
  • Product development and innovation in lean and agile networks
  • Learning in lean and agile networks
  • IT use in lean and agile networks

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. (N.B. Conference papers may only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper).

All papers are refereed through a peer review process.

All papers must be submitted online. To submit a paper, please read our Submitting articles page.

Important Dates

Manuscript submission: 15 December, 2014

Reviewer reports: 15 March, 2015

Revised paper submission: 15 June, 2015

Final paper submission: 15 August, 2015